MUSIC: NOFX diss Dick Cheney, smoke The Joint

  “This is the first night of the tour. You know what that means?” NOFX frontman Fat Mike asked from the stage at The Joint on Friday, setting up his punch line with clear and obvious relish, like Grandpa asking you to pull his finger. “This is rehearsal.”
    Has there ever been a band that tries so hard not to try at all?
    For more than two decades now, NOFX has reflexively adopted the we-could-care-less punk ethos of doing their own thing, their own way, establishing themselves as one of the scene’s most doggedly contrarian bands.
    During the liberal Clinton years, they were the most proudly un-p.c. act of their ilk, goofing on feminists like Andrea Dworkin and thumbing their noses at all the major labels who came calling once bands such as the Offspring and Rancid started scoring platinum records, even though their hook-heavy tunes were (and still are) as radio-friendly as any of the bands that hit it big during that era.
    Once George W. Bush took office, NOFX turned toward dishing out political invective like never before, coming with a heightened level of social commentary that once seemed so foreign to a band that first came to fame fetishizing beer bongs and porn. 
    Now, with Bush out of the White House, NOFX’s prime lyrical target of recent years has been relegated to the sidelines, though Fat Mike made sure to get in at least one parting shot at the previous administration.
    “I wanna see Dick Cheney have a heart attack,” he drawled during the opening strains of “Murder the Government,” the kind of short, sharp, typically sardonic missive that typifies this band’s bratty repertoire, which is covered in more snot than a mound of used Kleenex. 
    With the heart-on-the-sleeve emo ranks now dominating the Warped Tour ranks, which NOFX will join once again this summer, it’s made these dudes even more prone to mock any and everything with even a whiff of sincerity.      
    Hence, in concert, the band is deliberately loose and shambolic, acting like they don’t care when it’s clear from the craftsmanship of their catalog that they do — at least a little.
    At The Joint, the band tore through a slew of standards — Oi shout-along “The Brews,” nasally melodic chestnuts such as “Linoleum” and “Stickin’ In My Eye” — taking time to detour into the lilting reggae of “Eat the Meek,” with guitarist El Hefe playing along on trumpet.  
    Through it all, the band debuted some new material — including a tune appropriately titled “The Quitter” — got drunk and turned in a killer set almost in spite of themselves. 
    “There are no tricks up our sleeve,” Fat Mike announced during a show-opening “Dinosaurs Will Die,” and they hardly needed any on this night.

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